November 24, 2008 Subject:
Sex and Polyps
I remember seeing this film many years ago in some art film movie theater. I don't recall what the feature was, but I have never forgotten Benchley's "lecture." A real lesson in how to write comedy. The film I saw then was a good quality 35 mm print. I have a feeling something has been clipped out of the current version--I have a distinct memory of Benchley dropping his pencil and notebook on the floor.
November 24, 2008 Subject:
Hilarious Comedy About Morals of the Day
Corny tongue in cheek innuendos, and comedy about the male species and what they choose to mate with with they're in "glowing" mode>;)
August 9, 2008 Subject:
Great comedy, rotten print
If someone isn't familiar with Robert Benchley's takeoffs on pompous small-time speakers, you'd hardly get a positive first impression from this particular presentation. True, there isn't much action, but the point is that it's essentially the static filming of a parody "speech." Benchley's vocal inflections and subtle facial expressions provide the joke. Unfortunately, because this piece of film is of such lousy quality, his voice is almost inaudible and covered by the crackling of the sound track; Benchley's facial features are reduced to occasional small moving blobs of black against a face of solid white. That pretty much negates what he's trying to do. Judging from the ecstatic comments on the IMDB, there must be a better print around somewhere. No, Robert Benchley is no Benny Hill, but Benny Hill was no Robert Benchley, either. Two totally different branches of the comedy tree. I'd also bet that if Benchley did this routine in color video and Benny Hill presented one of his sketches in a crummy black and white print similar to this one, opinions would be reversed. But I still think, even through the murk and static, that he's subtle and he's funny. I hear plenty of public speakers today who would be the perfect targets of Benchley's lampoon. I'm giving this the highest rating but regret I can't also give it the lowest for abysmal film quality.
April 20, 2008 Subject:
Early sound film
Historical value only, or a laugh at the past.
The similarity of early sound clips to early telivision is evident. Confinement to small sets and lack of camera mobility aflict both.
The cameras were often in a sound proof room shooting through double glazed windows.
A giggle in its day but he's no Benny Hill.
April 18, 2008 Subject:
couldn't get through it
I've read a lot of Robert Benchley's work, but never had a chance to see him on-screen. This film doesn't help me. It's really poor quality; background noise and hum on the soundtrack render Benchley's words very hard to hear unless the volume is turned way up.